25 Oct Drive Alert, Arrive Alive! – It’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week
November 1st – November 8th is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week
November 1st also marks the end of Daylight Saving Time, and while the idea of “falling back” should mean an extra hour of sleep, many people can’t or don’t take advantage of the extra hour, and their body’s sleep cycle can be disrupted for several days. Many individuals will wake up earlier, have a difficult time falling asleep, and are more likely to wake up during the night according to a review in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews by Dr. Yvonne Harrison.
This interrupted sleep pattern creates a hazard on the road for all of us. Poorer visibility this time of year coupled with many drowsy drivers is a recipe for disaster, and so while we always need to be on our toes to prevent drowsy driving, it’s especially important at the beginning and end of Daylight Saving Time. So, let’s discuss how you can help to prevent drowsy driving and stay safer on the roads!
To help get a good night’s sleep, try these tips:
- Stop using your phone right before bed and schedule a blue light filter.
- Break the habit of hitting the snooze button.
- Don’t eat a large meal or drink a lot before bed.
- Avoid the afternoon-evening cup of coffee (unless you need it to stay up for a drive).
- Exercise promotes sleep, but do so no later than two hours before bedtime.
- Consider purchasing a smart light bulb that can automatically turn on and off gradually throughout the day to help your body maintain a regular sleep cycle.
When you’re on the road:
If you know you’re tired, always avoid driving whenever possible, but if you must drive somewhere, take this advice:
- Always give yourself extra time to wake up a bit before your drive.
- Take a power nap before you leave if possible (give yourself 30 min between the nap and driving to let yourself wake up!)
- Take time to prepare or purchase a caffeinated drink for the road.
- Get some fresh air by rolling the windows down.
- Listen to energizing music or a podcast that can keep your attention on the drive.
- Keep the temperature cooler in the car.
Planning a longer than usual car trip?:
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before (use our tips for a restful sleep to help you!)
- Let people you live with know that you need a good night’s sleep so they can be extra courteous the night before.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and medications that cause drowsiness as a side effect.
- Whenever possible, avoid driving when you would normally be sleeping.
- Make a wake-up plan.
- This might include setting out your mug for coffee, setting tomorrow’s outfit up by your bed, and making a list of the things you know you’ll have to wait to do in the morning (like packing your phone charger and toothbrush after you use them.)
- Making this list will help you stay organized the night before and save you time so you can make that cup of coffee and have extra time on the road the next day.
- Whenever possible, use a buddy system in order to keep the driver awake and to share the driving responsibilities.
- Have all passengers take a break every two hours/100 miles to refresh. Stretching your legs, using the bathroom, and getting a little fresh air goes a long way!
This time of year can be a challenge for many drivers, but it’s important to stay alert and awake. It could save your life, the lives of your loved ones, and the lives of others on the road.